Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ong Bak

Ong Bak is a Thai film about a man Boonting (Tony Jaa) who went to the city to recover a stolen head of Buddha (Buddha statuette is called by the villagers as Ong Bak). To the poor villagers, Ong Bak is their god and losing it is a disaster for them. Boonting uses his Muay Thai skills against enemies who want to stop him from his quest. I don't want to use give any more details or I'll spoil the movie for you.
I've heard of this movie through word-of-mouth with people telling me about the "spectacular fight scenes". I've seen Muay Thai before and I believe in its effectiveness. Muay Thai moves are regularly employed in MMA fights. When I saw the movie, my admiration for Thai boxing increased even more. I saw moves I've never seen before. In fact, the movie is refreshing as it’s not overloaded with special effects (sfx only makes a martial art move look unnatural in a movie) which have become a staple in film making nowadays. All outrageous Muay Thai moves and stunts were done naturally or so the producer said (Tony Jaa can perform these moves and stunts live backing the claim up successfully).
I'm familiar with Kung Fu movies so when I expect a kick, Tony knees his opponents. He also displayed his mastery of other martial arts like Wushu (when he used those long sticks reminiscent of Jet Li in Hero), and Arnis (when he used two sticks to beat up another adversary) in the movie.
If there's any showcase piece for Muay Thai, Ong Bak can claim it. The film lived up and exceeded my expectations.

Scenes from ONG BAK with music from Story of the Year

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